A longtime stalwart of the scene, Roman Flügel has remained one of the biggest names in electronic music since the mid-nineties. Whilst transcending style and genre, the classically-trained producer is perhaps best renowned for his trippy, minimal and uplifting blend of house music. Quiet and reserved, Flügel more often draws comparisons to a lecturer than a DJ, his intellectual appearance belying a musical knowledge that far exceeds his club-focused approach.
For this edition of our Background Noise feature, Roman took some time ahead of his upcoming shows in Wales, Bristol and Liverpool to discuss the sonic sources from which he draws inspiration.
“We are surrounded by sound every single second of our life.”
There’s no way to hide. Even if we think it’s quiet we begin to hear our own body generating many different kinds of noises of its own.
Listening to music can be a good opportunity to escape from the noise of modern city life. But only sleep can give us an idea what it is like to be cut off from hearing. At least for me, it is a rare experience to hear music or any other sound while I am sleeping. Still, dreams are full of other experiences. For quite some years now and especially after DJ’ing on long weekends with less sleep than recommended, I have an occasional sensation while laying down: an almost synthetic sounding low-frequency noise stab obviously generated in my brain appears for a second and stops me from falling asleep. Luckily I got used to it somehow and won’t have a problem to find sleep after it has appeared once or twice.
Where I grew up, in the suburbs of a mid-sized town in the centre of West Germany, a forest began right across the street from our house. I like to think that birds inspired mankind to make music. On mild early evening summer days, with windows wide opened, I was surrounded by singing birds, sitting in trees and bushes.”
“I’ve always enjoyed music. When I learned to play classical piano I wasn’t much into Mozart. Instead, J. S. Bach was my favourite. I consider it spiritual music on the highest level and I developed a special connection with the interpretations of Glenn Gould.”
“My uncle lived in a house full of instruments of any kind. He also owned a Roland SH-1000 and around 1977 I was allowed to play on a synthesizer for the very first time. I guess that explains my never-ending enthusiasm for electronic sounds. I just loved to turn up the amplifier and make as much noise as possible while on a visit during summer holidays. It’s amazing what music can do. It seems quite a way from birds to Bach to Acid House and Techno but as Wolfgang Tillmans once quoted in one of his Photobooks “If One Thing Matters, Everything Matters” and I think that is true. Music doesn’t have to be loud or aggressive to unfold it’s potential. But sometimes it simply is. And hearing Underground Resistance late at night on a massive sound system when it was released 1992 is definitely a moment to remember.”
“So what’s my latest contribution to add a little more noise to the background? Just recently the label ‘House Is OK‘ released a really nice double 12. Part two features tracks by Oliver Achatz, TCB, House Of Life and myself.”